How Will Healthcare Reform Affect Nurse Practitioners?

The following article is a guest contribution by Teresa Jackson.

We’ve witnessed two historic events with this presidency – an African American is in the White House for the first time ever, and now, he’s done what seemed to be impossible by getting Congress to vote in the healthcare reform bill, a measure that promises to make healthcare more affordable and easier to access for those who really need it.

While the actual effectiveness of the reform will be proven (or dis-proven) in time, the burning question among the medical fraternity is how the changes will affect them. Is it advantageous to doctors and nurses and others in the healthcare industry?

If you’re a nurse practitioner, there’s good news in the offing especially if you’re in primary care. With the new healthcare program promising basic healthcare for every single American, there will be a demand for more physicians in primary care.

But not many graduates from medical school are planning to enter primary care; in fact, barely 10 percent say they would consider primary care as an option. So this leaves a huge hole in the demand for primary care practitioners, a gap that could possibly be filled by nurse practitioners (NPs).

NPs are qualified to do much more than Registered Nurses (RNs), and depending on state laws, they can practice medicine under the supervision of a licensed doctor and even write prescriptions and make diagnoses. Some states even allow NPs to take care of patients even when a physician is not around. And with nurse practitioners costing only 80 percent of what you have to pay physicians, it naturally follows that primary care practices are going to be hiring more NPs in the years to come.

The healthcare reform will turn out to be advantageous for the healthcare industry if it succeeds in preventing people from having to seek emergency care and being admitted in hospitals, and the appointment of more NPs in primary care could make this situation a reality – it has been proven that when more people receive good primary care and follow preventative measures to keep in check chronic diseases like diabetes, it prevents them from become victims of more serious complications like strokes and heart disease. So if the ratio of primary care physicians to patients is increased, we can safely say that it will bring down the overall cost of healthcare in the USA. And since the next best thing to primary care physicians are nurse practitioners, then this is all the more incentive for NPs to choose primary care as their specialty.

The healthcare reform is also focused on addressing the acute shortage of nurses that this nation faces, so those who are interesting in becoming RNs or furthering their careers by becoming NPs will qualify more easily for loans and education funding. So if you’re considering becoming an NP, now is as good a time as any to do so.

This guest article is written by Teresa Jackson, she writes on the subject of online NP schools. She invites your questions, comments at her email address :

7 thoughts on “How Will Healthcare Reform Affect Nurse Practitioners?”

  1. Having more people get primary and preventative care will reduce costs. ER visits are very expensive and there is a good size portion of the population that only gets their health care that way.

  2. I was just talking to a girl (very cute btw) about Nurse Practitioners. I asked her if NPs out-ranked RNs. She wasn’t sure.

    I assume so, since I know RNs can’t write scripts, but NPs can? Perhaps they’re in a totally different league as with PAs?

    Wow, acronyms. Sorry 🙂

    1. RN’s have a four year bachelors degree, where NP’s go on to get their Masters in a specialized area (Pediatrics, Family practice, etc.) There they get a larger knowledge base, more clinical experience and in the end are able to practice independently in some states and have prescriptive priveleges (Which again varies state to state). PAs are more medical based are are soley under a physician. Hope this helps. 😉

  3. I agree, this could well be an opporunity for nurses to benefit and start getti a little more of hte recognition and perhaps even bargaining power that they deserve for doing such a fine job.

  4. Nurse practitioner practice under their own licenses, PA’s don’t. I see patients in family practice, just as my supervising physician does. I admit people to the hospital, do rounds on patients and can write scheduled medications 2-5. Even if my supervising physician is out of town there is a doctor I can call if I have a question. I can not admit to the ICU but I can do rounds on them if they need medical management. I write and interpret labs/xrays/EKG’s..etc. I was an RN for 10 years and went back to school for my masters degree. Best decision I have ever made.

  5. The effects of the new healthcare reform can be observed even at my workplace. I work as a physician at a center specialized in rehab for men. Even in the rehabilitation branch of the healthcare the reduction of priced due to the reform caused bigger influx of patients, and the center has to hire more qualified personnel.Till now i observe only benefits from the reform and I hope that negative aspects will be insignificant.

  6. With everyone required to have health insurance along with more people on Medicaid, I would think that doctor offices will see an increase in patients. If there are not enough doctors, I could see a high demand not only for doctors but for nurse practitioners. I know when I go to the doctor, I spend close to 85% of my time there talking with the nurse and only about 15% talking with the doctor. With a nurse practitioner, I may not even have to see the doctor.

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